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A Night in Ibadan
by Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí 

We were walking through a lucid town, clear
Of voice, but for a low generator ringing
Into the night. The woman wrapped in golden
Dew; the children snoring like drugged radios.
You passed me your hand, I leaned into you and
Turned your chest open, lifted the cup of
Your heart and drank the rippling blood
Of the promise. In the naked sky, a red star
Burned like a bright button burnished by grace.
Stay with me. We will retain the dew in our bodies,
We will keep the alabaster from bursting,
I said as I returned the cup of your heart to its
Place. Belong to me. Belong to me always.
Our hands woven together, we walked through
The town, whispering. You told me of a dream
You had where the ghost of your mother
Returned with a basket of apples, blue apples.
At your touch each apple disappeared. Your mother,
Like any knowing adult watching the silliness of
A child, smiled her gap-tooth smile. Nothing of
The dead is real. Nothing of the dead is real.
After you died to me, I would think of that dream,
And wonder at the audacity of hunger, the
Necessary fire that is grief. And love, after you died
To me, I would think of the immense love it takes
The dead to smile at the impossibility of their
Giving, the casual grace of surrender.

Featured Poet of the Month Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí

Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí is the author of A Pocket of Genesis (Variant Literature, 2023). Recent work appears in AGNI, the Sun, The Hopkins Review, Efiko, the Republic, and Mooncalves: An Anthology of Weird Fiction. He is a student of History and International Studies at Lagos State University, Nigeria.

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